Posted on 19 July 2012 by Lou
The Cubs took the final 2 games of the series against the Marlins to keep their winning ways rolling. They took 5 of 6 games on the current homestand to open up the 2nd half of the MLB campaign.
In Wednesday night’s rain-shortened 5-1 win, Jeff Samardzija struck out 9 in just 5 innings and limited the marlins to only 1 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. James Russell picked up the win by pitching a scoreless 7th inning despite allowing 2 runners to reach base. Starlin Castro tied the game at 1 in the 4th inning with his 8th homer of the season. And the Cubs earned the win before the rains came by tallying 4 runs in the 7th. Geovany Soto had an RBI single, Jeff Baker had a 2-run single and David DeJesus plated the final run with a sacrifice fly.
In Thursday’s matinee, Paul Maholm pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball, scattering 5 hits and 1 walk. Maholm improved to 8-6 and lowered his WHIP to 1.29 and his ERA to 4.09. Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th when he walked the lead-off hitter and allowed him to score on a single. But he closed out the game to pick up his 11th save and preserve the 4-2 win. Alfonso Soriano hit his 18th homer to get the Cubs on the board in the 5th inning. And Reed Johnson capped off the 4-run 5th inning with a 2-out, 2-run single to left field. Johnson, Soriano, Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney each had 2 hits in the win.
Now it’s onto St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final 2012 start as a Cubs player on Friday night.
Posted on 09 July 2012 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs beat the NY Mets 7-0 on Sunday to take 2 of 3 from the Mets on the weekend right before the All-Star Break. Ryan Dempster earned his 4th win of the season, pitching 5 scoreless innings in his 1st start since being on the DL with a strained muscle. He struck out 4 batters and more importantly did not walk a batter. And he looks primed and ready to go for the 2nd half of the season once he gets traded to a contender. Dempster will be in high demand.
Reed Johnson, Starlin Castro and Jeff Baker each had 2 hits to power the Cubs offense. Castro hit a 3-run homer off of Jon Niese to break the game open in the 7th inning.
The Cubs finished the 1st half with a miserable 33-52 record. They have a 1/2 game better record than the Houston Astros to avoid having the worst record in baseball at the break. They trail the Cincinnati Reds by 15 games in the NL Central race. Ha ha ha!
At least we have Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair to root for in the All-Star Game and Anthony Rizzo to root for in the 2nd half of what is shaping up to be another frustrating season on the north side of Chicago.
Posted on 11 June 2012 by Lou
Ryan Dempster won for the 2nd time on the Cubs atrocious 2-8 road trip through San Francisco, Milwaukee and Minnesota. It were Dempster’s first 2 wins of the 2012 MLB season. He pitched 8 scoreless innings to help the Cubs avoid the sweep by the Twins. He scattered 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. He has an amazing 1.03 WHIP and 2.31 ERA, but only has a 2-3 record as the Cubs have failed to provide him much run support in his starts. Starlin Castro led the Cubs 9-hit attack by going 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored. Reed Johnson added 2 hits and 3 runs scored in the lead-off spot.
Off the field, the Cubs landed highly touted Cuban prospect Jorge Soler in the “free agent” market. The 20-year old outfielder was considered the next biggest star out of Cuba after Yoenis Cespedes signed with Oakland for $36 million earlier this spring. The Cubs were able to negotiate a 9-year, $30 million deal for the player they have set their sights on for quite a while now. Other top teams – the Yankees, White Sox, Phillies and Red Sox – were all believed to be involved in the bidding for Soler, but the Cubs got him. The Cubs did not make any public announcement about the deal today, but look for some news later this week.
At 20-40, the Cubs are on pace to finish with more than 100 losses for only the 3rd time in franchise history. Both the 1962 and 1966 Cubs finished 59-103. Not good – not good at all, but at least it looks like new ownership has a plan in place, and the tools necessary to implement that plan…
Posted on 24 May 2012 by Lou
OUCH! It keeps getting worse and worse. The Cubs fell to the Astros 5-1 on Wednesday night as their losing streak reached 9 games. The Cubs have now been swept in each of their last 3 series. Not good, not good at all.
Jeff Samardzija pitched well again, but a key play in the bottom of the 4th inning cost the Cubs the game. Samardijza was cruising right along until the Astros had 2 on and 2 out in the 4th. It looked like the Cubs were going to get out of the inning when David DeJesus caught J.D. Martinez’s bloop hit down the right field line. But Darwin Barney was also going after the ball and as DeJesus caught the ball, Barney barreled into DeJesus knocking the ball out of his mitt. Both runners scored as Martinez hit his 1st career “triple”. The Cubs just keep finding ways to lose. Sanardzija ended up going 6 strong innings and kept the Cubs in the game with a 2-1 deficit, but the Cubs could never muster any offense other than Reed Johnson’s 1st inning home run.
Travis Wood kept the Cubs in the ballgame on Tuesday night as well. He worked 5 2/3 innings of 2 run ball, scattering 2 hits and 2 walks with 3 K’s. But the Cubs could only manage one run on a solo home run by Alfonso Soriano in the 4th inning.
The Cubs scored just 6 runs in the series, the same number of runs that they scored in the 3-game weekend series against the White Sox last weekend. The Cubs fell to 15-29 – a whopping 10 games back of the Cards. With the loss, the Cubs officially have the worse record in ALL of baseball…
Posted on 22 May 2012 by Lou
So much for Matt Garza putting an end to the Cubs current 6-game losing streak. Garza endured his worst outing of the season, giving up 7 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks in just 3 innings. He gave up 2 3-run jacks that gave the Astros a comfortable 7-0 lead after just 3 innings of play.
After being swept in 2 straight series, the Cubs hoped that a road trip away from the “Friendly” Confines of Wrigley Field might turn the tides in their favor, especially with one of their best pitchers on the mound. But it wasn’t meant to be. For the 3rd straight game, the Cubs did not score a SINGLE RUN in the game’s 1st 8 innings. That has to be some sort of record. They lost 7-4 on Saturday (4 runs in the 9th); they lost 6-0 on Sunday; and they were losing 8-0 on Monday night before run-scoring singles from Reed Johnson, David DeJesus and Blake Lalli in the 9th inning.
The lone bright spot – Randy Wells pitched the game’s final 5 innings allowing just a single ER on 3 hits and 2 walks. Yeah!
The Cubs are 15-26 – 8 games behind the Cards. Ouch!!! Let’s hope Travis Wood can snap the streak. In 3 starts against the Astros as a member of the Reds last season, Wood went 1-0 with a nasty 1.02 ERA against Houston. He still has a 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings streak against the Astros – let’s hope he keeps that up tonight with the way the Cubs have been scoring runs of late…
Posted on 08 March 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija is making a strong case to be named a starter for the Cubs during the 2012 campaign. Manager Dale Sveum predicted that the Kansas City Royals would not be able to hit Samardzija in Wednesday’s cactus league came, and his prediction almost came true. Samardzija bearly broke a sweat, tossing 3 scoreless innings with 3 K’s. The only hit allowed was a cheap blooper by Chris Getz in the 2nd inning. Samardzija needed just 35 pitches. Many baseball people around the country named Samardzija the most improved pitcher during the course of the 2011 MLB season. Samardzija has been on a “mission” this winter, vowing to do whatever it takes to make the Cubs starting rotation in 2012. So far so good for the big righty. He consistently through his fastball in the mid 90’s and he already has great control on his slider and changeup. That is a lethal combo. Look for Samardzija to continue to put pressure on Dale Sveum and the Cubs front office who might be reluctant to move Samardzija out of the bullpen where he was so effective last year.
Cubs hitters also played well – 6 runs on 15 hits – including 2 hits apiece for Starlin Castro, Reed Johnson and Bryan LaHair.
Posted on 30 December 2011 by Lou
The Cubs inked Reed Johnson to a 1-year deal for the 2012 MLB season. After spending the 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Johnson rebounded with the Cubs in 2011. He started 49 games and racked up 266 at-bats in 111 games. He gained significant playing time with a nice .309 batting average and an impressive .816 OPS. Johnson’s role with the Cubs will remain as the 4th outfielder behind Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and recently acquired David DeJesus.
Posted on 28 November 2011 by Lou
Looks like I didn’t miss too much while I was on vacation last week – the Cubs offered Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena arbitration before the required deadline – yippee!
Ramirez is clearly gone, so I guess it is a good move. Ramirez is a Type B Free Agent, so if he signs with a different team this winter, the Cubs will get a sandwich pick in the June amateur draft from the team that signs him. There is little to no chance that Ramirez accepts arbitration before the December 7th deadline since he is the top 3rd baseman free agent on the market, so it looks like the Cubs will get a sandwich pick next year. If for some odd reason he did go to arbitration he would likely get somewhere around $17-18 million for the season.
Pena, on the other hand, is a little bit trickier. The Cubs paid Pena $10 million for his services in 2011. Pena led the team with 28 home runs, and while he is looking for a long-term deal like Ramirez, there may not be too many clubs out there looking to sign the 33-year old long-term. Pena could go to St. Louis or Milwaukee if Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder depart for greener pastures. The Cubs will likely be in the mix for Fielder, especially with about $50 million coming off the books with the departures of Ramirez, Pena, Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome and John Grabow and a potential trade of Carlos Zambrano which will free up cash after the 2012 MLB season ends.
The Cubs did not offer arbitration to Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez or Grabow. I bet Wood comes back on a one-year basis for as long as he wants to pitch. Not so sure about any of the other guys, but I doubt it given the new management in place.
Let’s hope Theo, Jed and Dale are all hunkered down figuring out the next step in the process…
Posted on 20 July 2011 by Lou
Manager Mike Quade was all out of ideas as he watched Sean Marshall blow the save in his 1st chance as the Cubs “new closer”. Yippee. Think Quade is happy that he went ahead and accepted this awful Cubs managerial post?!
Quade called on Marshall to pick up a 2-inning save after Matt Garza gave up a lead off hit in the 8th inning. My question is this – if you were going to pull Garza if he allowed a runner to reach base, and since he had already thrown 113 pitches in 7 innings pitched, why not just pull him for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning instead of having him lead off and strike out? Sure you might not get an insurance run, but Reed Johnson and Aramis Ramirez each singled later that inning, so you never know. And then maybe you use Kerry Wood or someone else in the 8th inning and bring in Marshall to close the game in the 9th. Forcing Marshall to pick up a 6-out save in his 1st big chance since replacing Carlos Marmol as the club’s closer just did not seem like the smart thing to do. And this is just another example of why the Cubs have to be questioning Quade as the long-term manager of this team…
That being said, Marshall did not perform well. And after allowing the tying runs in the 8th inning, Marshall still could have kept his team in the game. But he allowed 2 more runs in the 9th inning and the Phillies won 4-2. Marshall has now allowed 7 ER in his last 6 appearances. Not good.
Lost in the shuffle was Matt Garza who turned in another good start. Garza pitched 7+ innings, allowing just the 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. He has clearly emerged as the ace of the staff as he has lowered his WHIP to 1.31 and his ERA to 3.80.
The top of the order was en fuego against Cliff Lee. Johnson had 3 hits and a run scored.
Starlin Castro had 2 hits and knocked in the Cubs only 2 runs in the 1st inning with a line drive 2-run HR.
And Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits in 4 at-bats to raise his batting average up to .302.
The Cubs are now 39-59 and they trail the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers by 13.0 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 18 July 2011 by Lou
It was not the way the Cubs wanted to start their 2nd half of the 2011 season – with 3 losses in 4 games to the Marlins at Wrigley Field. In Sunday’s 7-5 loss, Kerry Wood was the goat – giving up 3 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in the 8th inning with the game tied at 4. Just like that, the Cubs were on their way to another loss.
Randy Wells had pitched OK in his 6 innings – 4 ER on 8 hits and 3 walks with 4 K’s. On a humid, steamy day, Wells gave the bullpen a much-needed break with his 102-pitch effort. His 1.74 WHIP and 6.71 ERA are well above his career averages. Coming off of a solid spring, Wells was injured in his 1st start and has struggled mightily since he returned to the Cubs starting rotation back on May 28th.
Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and a run scored in the loss. He is now hitting .300 on the season. Reed Johnson and Starlin Castro each had a hit, an RBI and a run scored in the game.
The Cubs host the Phillies at Wrigley Field for a 3-game set this week. They get to face Roy Halladay tonight, Cliff Lee on Tuesday and rookie stud Vance Worley (5-1, 2.15 ERA) on Wednesday. Can you say sweep?!?!